If you have a lot of credit cards, you know that annual fees can add up and before you know it you could be paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars in annual fees each year.
In this article, we break down what types of retention offers you can expect to receive from the major banks. You will see all sorts of different types of offers and also relevant data related to those offers such as how much the individual spent and details regarding the offers.
In the future, you will be able to use the app WalletFlo to simply get alerts for potential retention offers but for now you can just view them manually and take note of offers that might apply to you.
What are retention offers?
Retention offers are special offers that credit card issuers make to customers in order to prevent them from cancelling their credit cards.
These can take various forms which might include:
- Annual fee waived
- Statement credit for annual fee
- Annual fee partially waived or reduced
- Bonus miles equal to annual fee
- Bonus miles less than value of annual fee
- Bonus for spending $X amount in a certain time period
- Credit limit increases (with no hard pulls)
- 0% APR promotional spending periods
Because retention offers can take so many different types of forms, it’s a good idea to go into the phone call with an idea of what you’re most interested in.
Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!
Tips for getting retention offers
Here are several tips for getting your retention offers.
Put spend on your card
Your odds of receiving a retention definitely go up as you put more spend on your credit card, so I always suggest putting spend on your credit cards before your annual fee hits and preferably throughout the year. (This is something WalletFlo will help you to remember to do.)
It’s not clear exactly how much spend you need, but generally putting at least a few thousands dollars in a year is a good starting point.
With that said, you don’t always have to put a lot of spend on your card. I’ve been given retention offers from Barclays for some cards like the Aviator Red, despite the fact that I had very little spend on my card (less than $500).
Wait until your annual fee hits
For the most part, you’re not going to be able to request a retention offer if your annual fee has not hit. There are some exceptions, but generally you’ll need to wait until you see that annual fee hit your account. And then, as soon as your annual fee hits you should call.
Request them the right way
Once your annual fee hits, then you want to call up the number on the back of your card.
You usually want to tell the phone representative something like “I noticed my annual fee hit recently, and I wanted to check and see if I was eligible for any offers as an incentive to keep my card open.” You can specifically mention retention offers but I try to be a little more subtle/vague when I call in — at least initially.
Also, I try to avoid using the words “cancel” or “close” because in the past over-zealous/incompetent agents have closed cards upon hearing those words and re-opening cards often involves a lengthy “investigation” of your phone call, file, etc. (If you are actually seriously considering cancelling your cards then obviously this is not as much of a risk for you.)
If you bring up closing your card, you might be asked why you are thinking about closing your card so it’s best to be prepared to give them a reason. Don’t overthink it — simply telling them that you’re having trouble justifying the annual fee is usually sufficient. You could also mention a competitor card that you are thinking about keeping.
After telling the rep the purpose of your phone call you will probably get transferred to an “account specialist” and/or the “retention department” and they will then review your file and then let you know if there are any offers.
Here’s the thing, don’t always take them up on the first offer that they give you. It’s often the case that there will be multiple offers available for you but you will need to request for them to tell you about alternative offers.
Now that you know some retention offer basics, check out some of the offers you might be able to get below.
Alliant has three credit cards, two have no annual fees, but one carries an annual fee. The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature offers interesting introductory cashback, but carriers an annual fee after one year of holding the card.
Alliant Cashback Visa Signature
We could not find any retention offers data points.
I personally think after holding the card for one year, you should dump it as there are other better cashback cards without annual fees like the Citi Double Cash Card or Discover IT.
American Express, or also known as Amex, has tons of cards with annual fees, some that are very expensive. Luckily, Amex regularly offers retention offers on many of their cards, no matter if it’s a personal or business card.
The Platinum regularly has retention offers, but each cardholder will have a different retention offer.
- “She offered $500 or 50,000 MR (Membership Rewards Points) without any spend requirements. Took the $500.” – kmcm25, 2020
- Spent $39,000 during the card member year and never had a retention offer before, even though kmcm25 tried last year to get a retention offer, but was denied.
- “15,000 MR (Membership Rewards Points) or $100 statement credit after $2,000 spend.” – corpgator, 2020
- Spent around $9,000 during the card member year.
- “…was offered 50,000 (points) with no spend requirement…” – Zwiebelbauer, 2020
- Only had the Platinum card for one year and spent $13,000 during the card member year.
- “Got $200 or 20,000 MR (Membership Rewards Points) for $3,000 spend next 3 months.” – geoff325, 2020
- Spent $7,000 during the card member year.
As you can see all the offers range from mediocre to amazingly huge offers. Some users have also reported similar offers for similar spend. In some cases, users also called back (HUCA) later the same or next day to get different offers from different agents.
For business Platinum cardholders, data points show you have less luck with retention offers.
- “No retention offers.” – Antshill, 2020
- Spent around $12,000 during the card member year.
- “Offered 5,000 MR (Membership Rewards Points) for $5,000 spend.” – culdeus, 2020
- Spent only to use the statement credits for Dell and airline incidentals.
- “Offered 5,000 points immediately and 25,000 additional points for $10,000 spend in 6 months.” – lkar, 2019
- Spent a “modest amount” during 2019.
Notice how the Business Platinum has more mediocre retention offers, unless you spend more than the average cardholder.You will see a trend on how business cards have less friendly retention offers throughout our guide.
Similar to other Amex cards, the Gold card will offer different retentions for each cardholder.
- “Tried for Gold renewal retention. Third renewal. No offer.” – Xavier110, 2019
- Spends around $7,000 a year in dining alone.
- “First call went nowhere, got a really unfriendly rep who said there were no retention offers available at all and that the benefits of the card are reason enough to keep it. Second call, got the friendliest rep I’ve ever spoken with… Told him I was still on the fence and he offered 15,000 MR (Membership Rewards) points for $2,000 spend within 3 months which I accepted.” – formiles, 2019
- HUCA (hang up and call again) works, even if the representative said no the first time.
- “No retention offers or reduction in AF. Was offer 15K Membership Rewards points with $2,000 in spend in 3 months…” – rj123456, 2019
- Spent around $500-1000 a month, mostly groceries and dining.
- “Offered either $200 statement credit for $3,000 spend or 30,000 MR (Membership Rewards Points) for $4,000 spend in 90 days.”- Ray Johnson, 2019
- Spent around $33,000 on groceries and dining. Was still grandfathered into the old annual fee.
Offers aren’t as amazing as the personal Platinum, but depending on how you look at these offers, some can cover or reduce the annual fee a ton. Sadly, not everyone might be lucky.
The business Gold card has even less retention offers than other Amex cards.
- “Spend 10,000 get 30,000 points in 92 days.” – nonimmigranth1b, 2019
- “No retention offer.” – Steve, 2018
- Spent around $12,000 in organic spend during the first and only year of holding the card.
Some cards, like the Green, have very few data points for retention offers as it’s finally becoming more popular.
- “Called about my green card. Was on the fence about keeping but I got no retention offers.” – psbaseballfan27, 2020
If you got a retention offer for the Green card, please do leave one in the comments below as we couldn’t find any other recent retention offers since the refresh.
- “Offered $50 statement credit or 7500 MR (Membership Rewards Points).” – 808traveler, 2020
- Had the card for one year and spent around $10,000.
- “15,000 HH (Hilton Honor points) retention offer…” – ChurnieEls, 2019
- Spent around $14,000 over the course of a year.
- “They offered 10K Hilton points for $3K spend and I declined. They then offered a $50 statement credit for $1K spend.” – Mike B, 2019
- Spent around $16,000 this year and held the card for two years.
- “… offered $50 statement credit for spending $1,000 in 90 days.” – anabolism, 2019
- Spent enough for minimum spend.
- “No offers.” – anabolism, 2019
- “Minor” charges on the card.
- “No offer.” – Xavier110, 2019
- Spent $20,000 throughout the membership year.
Delta Reserve (personal)
- “She then offered me 30,000 bonus SkyMiles if/when I spend $4,000 within the next 90 days… She said there was a $300 statement credit available after spending $4,000 in three months.” – Chris Carley, 2019
- “… she gave me 50,000 miles and no minimum spending.” – Marcia Greczyna, 2019
- “They offered 12,500 Skymiles with $2000 spend or $100 credit with no restrictions.” – highops, 2019
- Had the card for one year and used it only for the welcome offer minimum spend.
Delta Reserve (business)
We couldn’t find any retention offers shared via forums. If you had a retention offer for the Delta Reserve Business card, please do share with us in the comments below.
Delta Platinum (personal)
- “Offered either $100 statement credit or 15,000 (SkyMiles) points for $2,500 spend over three months.” – tiki01, 2019
- Spent $3,400 from year to date while holding the card for a year.
- “… 30,000 miles if I spent $4,000 in the next 3 months.” – Marcia Greczyna, 2019
- “30,000 SkyMiles if I spend $2,000 in three months.” – Steve, 2018
- Spent around $26,000 during a cardmember year holding the card for three years.
Delta Platinum (business)
- “…they did not offer me anything.” – Marcia Greczyna, 2019
- “No offer.” – Steve, 2019
- Spent $10,000 during the cardmember year.
Delta Gold (personal)
- “… offered either a $50 statement credit for $1,000 spend or 7,500 Skymiles after $1,500 spend…” – optimilez2016, 2019
- Held the card for 13 months before calling for a retention offer.
- “…was offered 20,000 miles if I paid the $95 renewal fee.” – signofthefourwinds, 2017
Delta Gold (business)
- No recent offers beyond 2016.
Marriott Bonvoy Brillant
- “Offered 20,000 for spending $2,000 in 3 months.” – ys10, 2019
- Spent $11,000 within 12 months.
- “30,000 points/$3,000/3 months.” – Ripley62, 2019
- 13 months open with $12,000 spent.
- “No retention offers, nothing!” – ORD-TGU, 2019
Marriott Bonvoy (business)
- “Offered 1000 points.” – SanDiego1K, 2019
- “… no retention offer given.” – kannon99, 2019
- Spent $27,000 within the cardmember year.
- “Retention offer of 15k points for $3000 spend over 3 months.” – danib62, 2019
- Spends around $17,000 a year.
Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the strongest banks for handing out retention offers.
No retention offers are available for the Premium Rewards card.
Alaska Airlines Visa
- “Offer was for the Travel Reward Card. Didn’t accept, no other offers. Agreed to refund the AF if I closed the card, so I did.” – dordal, 2017
- Had the card for 10 years with an annual spend of $15,000.
- “Called and no retention offer.” – philemer, 2017
- “… called for a retention offer and the agent offered me 2,500 bonus miles with no required spend. She would not waive AF.” – Tonys1234, 2017
Spirit Airlines World Mastercard
No retention offers are available for the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard.
Allegiant World Mastercard
No retention offers are available for the Allegiant World Mastercard.
Amtrak Guest Rewards
- “No retention offer…” – travel light, 2018
Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard
No retention offers are available for the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard.
Sonesta World Mastercard
No retention offers are available for the Sonesta World Mastercard.
Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard
- “1st annual fee, spent $12k+ to get the bonus. Called when AF posted, was offer 2500 points.” – countingmiles, 2017
Asiana Airlines Visa Signature
- No retention offers are available for the Asiana Airlines Visa Signature.
Barclays is similar to Amex where retention offers are slightly easier to come around than other banks on this list. However, the trend of business cards having less retention offers is still a thing.
- “No retention offer and options for downgrading.” – albertxue, 2019
- Spent $5,000 within the first year.
- “Offer to switch to no fee card to retain credit limit.1,000 points for first use.” – 2018
- Held the card for two years and spent $2,000 the months before calling for the retention offer.
Lufthansa Miles & More
- “…5000 miles for spending $1000 in 3 months.” – slickvik, 2018
- “Fee posted yesterday, called yesterday and got fee waived ($89.00). Rep stated that I would not be able to accept any other offers attached to my account for the next 90 days. Not so good for the wife. First call resulted with no offers. Second called resulted in rep stating that annual fee is never waived.” – yahrite808, 2019
- “Two year old Hawaiian World Elite card, no AF waiver nor points offered.” – eeflyer, 2018
- No retention offers are available for the Frontier Airlines credit card.
- “Called once, suggested I downgrade to the no annual fee card, no offers. Called again today, same deal, but when I pushed for an offer CSR told me about $100 statement credit if I spend $1000 a month for three months.” – SuitCase, 2019
- Had the card open for a year and only spent on the card for meeting the minimum spend requirement.
- “5000 bonus pts with $1000 spending in 3 months and half the annual fee refunded ($34.50). Accepted. No spend (as in spent no money during the card membership year). Had AF completely waived the prev year; rep noted that every time I called.” – medellinfein, 2018
- “Offered (a) half of $99 annual fee waived (b) 5000 points after $1000 spend in 90 days (c) $50 statement credit after $1000 spend in each of next three months. I said “(a) and (b) sound interesting” and agent gave me both of them.” – rcw70, 2019
- Spent around $100 during the cardmember year after meeting the welcome offer minimum spend.
- “She then offered to credit half the fee ($49.50) or downgrade to the no AF JB card. I asked if there were other offers, she said no.She then offered to credit half the fee ($49.50) or downgrade to the no AF JB card. I asked if there were other offers, she said no.” – bosflyer93, 2019
- Spent around $100 during the cardmember year after meeting the welcome offer minimum spend.
- “Account specialist offered half-fee waiver or $1,000 spend in 90 days for 5k points.” – edelweiss, 2019
- 2nd anniversary year.
- “Had card for 1 year, met $1K minimum spend, not much else after that. No retention offer.” – 2018
- “Called 1 month before fee hit. Stated to first line rep that I received a flyer in the mail about the upcoming fee and it stated to ‘call for offers’. Rep immediately transferred me to retention. Offered me fee waiver and 0% on all new purchases through 09/2020.”- junkemail, 2019
- Opened the account in 2015.
- “Annual fee posted on my Aviator Red. I have zero spend on the card. No retention offers and no option to downgrade.” – Pochama, 2020
- “Entire annual fee was waived.” – Steve, 2018
- Spent $50,000 during the cardmember year.
- “… offered AF refund…” – DiMAn0684, 2020
- Held the card for one year and only spent enough for hitting the minimum spend requirement for the welcome offer.
- “no retention offered. CSR claims that the biz department does not do retention on this card.”
Chase doesn’t have a direct number to their retention department. This makes it cumbersome to find out the available offers for Chase cardholders.
- “Held for 5 years 2014-2019 Dec and Annual spend of 5K. Mentioned considering closing and received $60 statement credit. No other offers available at all…” – Karush Jaggi, 2019
- “3rd year with the CSP and I spent about 15k last year. No retention offer.” – TheIronWill, 2019
- “… first anniversary, minimal spend. Called after fee posted, no offer.” – aquanine, 2019
- “The rep was very helpful and mentioned he does not remember chase offering any retention for the reserve cards, but if we choose to cancel we have up to 41 days from the statement date.
So lets say you have renewal on December 2, the statement closes with that fee of $450 on December 25. You now have 41 days from Dec 25 to cancel and get a full refund.” – stallionv, 2019
British Airways Visa Signature
- “They offered $50 credit…” – carsnoceans, 2018
- “$100 statement credit. No minimum spend required. Yearly spend: $30,000.” – ohmark, 2019
Aer Lingus Visa Signature
- “No offers (was not even transferred to retention), c. 3k spend to earn bonus and left open until first AF posted.” – 2019
Iberia Visa Signature
We have no retention data points for the Iberia Visa Signature.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
- “Offered $50, but cancelled anyway. Had almost no spend since SPG/Marriott merger.” – 2019
- “Marriott Bonvoy called and was offered $50 retention.” – chicagodave, 2019
World of Hyatt
- “… got $50 statement credit for nothing; $17k annual spend.” – mehudson, 2019
- “$50 statement credit , 1st year, spend over $20k.” – 2019
- “No offers, 1st year, minimal spend after bonus requirements.” – 2019
- “20k spend in 2018. 23k spend YTD. Offered 75$ statement credit if I use the card at a Hyatt property (no time limits or minimum spend mentioned).” – jwo, 2019
Disney Premier Visa
We have no retention data points for the Disney Premier Visa.
IHG Rewards Club Premier
We have no retention data points for the IHG Rewards Club Premier.
Starbucks Rewards Visa
We have no retention data points for the Starbucks Rewards Visa.
Ink Business Preferred
- “… my spend was the minimum for SUB (sign-up bonus). Called retention and got nothing…” – session404, 2019
- A one year old card.
- “Both cards open for 1 year. Some minor spend other than the minimum spend.” – cletuslol, 2019
- Spent about $24,000 over the course of the year.
United Business Card
We have no retention data points for the United Business Card.
United Explorer Card
- “No offer, open 1 year, $12K spend.” – 2019
- “No offer, had been open for a year with a little spend most months.” – 2019
- “… offered $60 statement credit, accepted. Annual spend was about $20k.” – Napagoer, 2018
United Club Business
We have no retention data points for the United Club Business card.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus
- “No offer. Second anniversary, minimal spend, DID have the $70 retention offer last year.” – 2019
- “No offer. 1 year old, some spend after hitting initial bonus, one referral.” – 2019
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- “$50 statement credit. 1 year old, no spend after hitting the initial bonus, one referral.” – 2019
- “Minimal after original bonus. No retention offer…” – 2019
Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business
We have no retention data points for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority
- “$35 statement credit.” – jfaghihnassiri, 2019
- Both cards open for 1 year. Some minor spend other than the minimum spend.
- “Second year. No retention offer. $0 spent.” – aquanine, 2019
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business
- “$100 statement credit.” – jfaghihnassiri, 2019
- Both cards open for 1 year. Some minor spend other than the minimum spend.
- “… second anniversary, no spend, did NOT have a retention offer last year. Called after fee posted, no offer.” – MDtR-Chicago, 2019
- “Called retention today and received $100 statement credit to be posted on next statement. $8k annual spend on that card.” – acarey, 2019
- “… sixth year with this card. Called in and was offered $150 statement credit.” – I Love to Travel, 2019
- “Third year and first time to call for retention offer. Was given $150 credit.” – venkallu, 2019
- “Given $95 statement credit to offset AF.” – fafa123, 2019
- “Called and asked for retention, told there is a $50 offer on the acct:
Rep: ‘Is this to get an offer or are you really going to cancel the card?’
User: ‘Uh, no I have another business card. Is it possible to get the offer?’
(grumbling) ‘Yes, I can apply the offer.'” – weezl, 2019
Citi is surprisingly one of the easier banks for retention offers. But no matter what, on their premium cards it’s harder to get a retention offer.
- “1st renewal. No offers at all. Cancelled card. Gave me 60 days to redeem points.” – bbriscoe34, 2020
- “First renewal – $95 credit after spending $3,000 in next three months.” – miles4CDG, 2020
- Spent $12,000 within one cardmember year.
- “Offered one time $95 statement credit +1000 TYP per month if I spend $1000/month for 3 months.” – Ocean266, 2020
- “Had for 5 years. $20k spend last year. Offered $50 statement credit after $3000 spend per month for 3 months.” – keifernny, 2020
- “I tried half a dozen times over the last few months for a retention offer, never got one. Spend last year was around $10K…” brc01, 2020
- “Had for 5 years. $20k spend last year. Offered $50 statement credit after $3000 spend per month for 3 months.” keifernny, 2020
- “$600 spend, very old card, $50 credit for $1000 spend over next 3 months.” – 2018
- “I had a retention offer that just ended this month (1k bonus miles/month if I made at least $1k purchases a month), so I called to ask for another offer. The agent asked if I was interested in cancelling the card, and I said yes but I wanted to see if there were any offers first. The agent immediately offered me a $99 credit after I made at least $99 purchases in the next 30 days. I asked if there were any other offers, and the agent said there was another offer of 7500 bonus miles after $3k purchases in next 3 months.” 808traveler, 2020
- “No retention offer, only downgrade to MileUp.” – 2019
- Minimum spend only.
AA Platinum Business Select
- “No retention deal was offered…” – Fire_Fly, 2020
- “$3,000 in 3 months to get a $99 credit. I only spent about $800 on this account in 2019…” – miles4sheli, 2020
- “… $1,000 in 3 months they would credit back the $99 annual fee.” – rj123456, 2020
- Took three reps to get this offer.
- “15k bonus miles for spending $5k total within the next 3 months or $250 statement credit for spending $3k each month for each of the next 3 months.” – 2019
- Spent $50,000 last calendar year.
- “$450 statement credit for spending $5K each month for each of the next 3 months.” – 2018
No retention offers are available for the Expedia+ Voyager.
Holding some amazing cards like the Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite card, US bank offers less retention offers than other banks on this list.
Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
- “I was given 10,000 points to keep my card.” – Shadowfactor, 2019
- Spent around $22,000 in 2018.
- “Did not get the 10K retention offer, but did get the full refund!” – alphabet99, 2018
FlexPerks Gold American Express
No retention offers are available for the FlexPerks Gold American Express.
FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature
No retention offers are available for the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature.
Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card
- “The supervisor was able to offer me an additional 7,500 points for keeping the card (on top of the normal 40,000 renewal bonus).” – turpintine, 2017
- “Nothing offered.” – koalay, 2017
Business Leverage Visa Signature
No retention offers are available for the Business Leverage Visa Signature.
FlexPerks Business Travel Rewards
No retention offers are available for the FlexPerks Business Travel Rewards.
As you can see, retention offers take many forms. While you don’t always have to put significant spend on your card to get an offer, generally your odds of getting an offer will increase with more spend. I would make it a point to remember to inquire about retention offers when your annual fee is due and to put spend on your card as much as possible.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.
One good time to ask for an offer is after a negative benefits/rewards change. Also for an increased annual fee.
Co-brand/partner cards seem much easier to get retention offers from.
For all other circumstances, the process is a bit of a battle with not nearly enough offers to justify all that drama. When I recently called about my Amex Platinum personal card, as soon as I uttered the words, “I’m calling about a possible retention offer,” Amex disconnected the call. *click* So I just closed it via chat. Already have overlapping benefits with my Platinum biz card.
Those are great points. I will have to add those to the article for sure!